Gemma O'Doherty says judge should not hear case of former Garda commissioner

Gemma O'doherty Says Judge Should Not Hear Case Of Former Garda Commissioner
Gemma O'Doherty said she wanted the case put back to October as she "has a life" and many commitments.
Share this article

High Court Reporters

A judge is to decide whether he should not hear a High Court action over the alleged harassment of a woman by Gemma O'Doherty because she says he once represented a former garda commissioner,

Earlier this week, Ms O'Doherty, editor of the "Irish Light", was arrested outside her home over her failure to turn up in the High Court to answer a contempt application against her in relation to the harassment case.


She was freed by Mr Justice Conor Dignam to allow her get papers she said she needed to contest the case.

It was adjourned to Friday when Ms O'Doherty attended with what she said was her suitcase packed for going to Mountjoy Women's Prison.

Around 30 of her supporters packed into the small courtroom cheered her on arrival, some waving crucifixes, while several others who could not be accommodated remained outside the door, some reading prayer books.

A garda requested the supporters not to video or take photos, which is strictly forbidden in a courtroom or its precincts.


Ms O’Doherty immediately complained about the choice of a small courtroom to Mr Justice Dignam. The judge explained he had no control over the allocation of courtrooms and from enquiries he made there was no other larger courtroom available.

Ms O'Doherty told the judge he should recuse himself from hearing the case on the basis that before he was appointed to the bench the judge, as a barrister, acted for former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Ms O'Doherty said Mr Callinan had her dismissed from her job as a journalist with Independent News and Media and for which she got an apology in court from the newspaper.

She said a judge in another case being brought against her had recused himself last September on the basis that he too had acted for Mr Callinan and a precedent had been set.


She also accused Mr Justice Dignam of not being objective because of references he made to German history in the Second World War in an injunction decision he had given in the harassment case.

The harassment action was brought by Edel Campbell, of Kingscourt, Co Cavan, over the alleged unauthorised use by Ms O'Doherty of an image of Ms Campbell's son Diego Gilsenan, who took his own in life, in an article linking unexplained deaths to the Covid-19 vaccine.

As a result of repeated breaches of an injunction restraining publication, she was ordered to be brought before the court to answer a contempt application made on behalf of Ms Campbell.

She did not turn up but after her arrest on Wednesday, she was released to allow her to prepare her case against the contempt application.


On Friday, she also applied to have the case thrown out on the basis that Ms Campbell's legal fees were being paid through a "GoFundMe" campaign. This was third party funding, or "maintenance" as it is known in law, and this has been found to be illegal by the Supreme Court, she said.

She said the use of a picture of Diego Gilsenan taken from the internet was perfectly lawful and was done in the context of asking why so many young people are dying.

She told the judge that when she first informed him on Wednesday that the Campbell case was third party funded "you should have sent out an email saying this was third party funding and was illegal, but this pantomime is continuing".

She also claimed that if Ms Campbell, who she repeatedly said should be in court, was able to claim harassment for her upset over the photo, then she too (O’Doherty) was being harassed "by the lies that have been told about me” and the upset it had caused her.


David Kennedy SC, for Ms Campbell, said Ms O'Doherty was using this opportunity to continue her campaign of intimidation and harassment of his client.

Counsel wanted the case put back anyway for reasons including putting in a reply to the claims about the funding of legal fees.

The judge said he would adjourn in circumstances where Ms O'Doherty had raised potentially significant questions, not least about the definition of harassment and free press and also where he had to consider her recusal application.

Ms O'Doherty said she wanted the case put back to October as she "has a life" and many commitments, including speaking at conferences abroad.

She also said she wanted to appeal the matters before the court.

The judge said he had made no order because he had not heard the evidence in the case and anyway he had first to give his decision in the recusal application.

He adjourned it to June 7th.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by